Dely Valdes optimistic despite long odds

[USA-PANAMA] Panama is the only team in the Hexagonal to have never played in the World Cup, and has hopes of staying alive after slim after a 2-1 loss to Mexico. Coach Julio Dely Valdes still believes the Canaleros can move into next month's intercontinental playoffs, but they will have to beat the USA -- something they've never done in World Cup qualifying -- and Mexico will have to lose at Costa Rica.

Dely Valdes admitted Panama no longer controls its own destiny, needing help from the Ticos Tuesday in San Jose.

"Before, it depended on us," he said. "Not now. But we think it is still possible with a game still to play. We have a home game and Mexico is playing away."

Panama was five minutes away from earning a share of the points with Mexico when Raul Jimenez scored a stunning bicycle kick to win the game for El Tri, 2-1.

Dely Valdes was still livid with referee Joel Aguilar, saying the Salvadoran decided the game in Mexico's favor for not calling a penalty in favor of Panama shortly before he awarded a dubious penalty to Mexico that, as it turned out, Javier Hernandez missed.

World Cup qualifying:
2004: Panama 1-1 USA
2004: USA 6-0 Panama
2005: Panama 0-3 USA
2005: USA 2-0 Panama
2013: USA 2-0 Panama
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